Firdous throws in towel, takes it back, wipes tears

Published: December 25, 2011
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During cabinet meeting, information minister says her support will remain with the PPP. PHOTO: PID/ FILE

During cabinet meeting, information minister says her support will remain with the PPP. PHOTO: PID/ FILE

KARACHI: A weeping cabinet member resigning live on air: an unprecedented event, even in the often bizarre world of Pakistani politics.

Some said it was reflective of party divisions. Others even suggested it was a publicity stunt to divert attention from the PTI rally. Either way, in a dramatic development, Federal Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan withdrew her resignation on Sunday, hours after she offered to quit her ministerial post.

Awan made the surprise announcement at the televised federal cabinet meeting at Governor House in Karachi. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani later persuaded her to withdraw the resignation. “The prime minister tore up my resignation letter and asked me to continue my work,” Awan told reporters later.

The 100th meeting of the cabinet started at around 10 am. After the PM completed his speech, Awan asked to say a few words. After praising President Asif Zardari, she startled the cabinet and those watching on television with a tearful speech.

Cabinet members, unsure of the protocol, started looking at each other and waited to take the prime minister’s lead.

Addressing Gilani, Awan said: “While endorsing your leadership, I don’t think I can continue as a member of the cabinet. With your permission, I would like to submit my resignation.” Expressing her belief she was ‘not competent enough’ to continue in the role, she added that she did not want to be part of a ministry which caused problems for the party.

After Awan left, Federal Law Minister Maula Bux Chandio and Babar Awan, present as a special invitee, pursued her and tried to bring her back to the meeting. She refused and waited in the corridor of Governor House, complaining that “party leaders are continuously ignoring her.” Later the cabinet members took her back to the meeting.

Sources said that after a few minutes Zardari called Gilani and inquired about the matter. The PM held a separate meeting with Awan and assured her that all her reservations would be addressed.

It was not immediately clear if she was forced to resign or if she had proposed to quit voluntarily. Some analysts say Awan may have been forced to resign due to her failure to convincingly defend the government in the Memogate scandal.

“We have asked the president and the prime minister several times to remove her, because she has no such skills to counter opponents in the media. We have demanded a more vocal member for the slot,” a PPP leader said.

The prime minister put the U-turn down to the nature of politics. During the press briefing on the cabinet meeting, Gilani said: “Politics is a day-to-day affair and even a week is too long. We have addressed all her concerns,” he added.

Awan, who was in a wheelchair due to a fractured leg, was still displeased. “Actually I do not have authority and have been working as a powerless minister. Three to four people are interfering in the affairs of my ministry. They are behaving like de facto information ministers,” she said.

The information minister added that she had lodged many complaints with the prime minister and president, but without success. “I had decided to quit the ministry, not the party. I cannot think about giving up my affiliation with the PPP,” she added.

Before the development, there had been rumours Awan would join the PTI during their rally in Karachi at the Quaid’s mausoleum. Soon after the news was reported by a few TV channels, PPP ministers refuted the claims and announced that Awan would return to Islamabad along with the other cabinet members. Some analysts had more cynical theories, claiming the entire episode was just a trick to divert attention from the PTI.

Following Sherry Rahman and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Awan is the third information minister who has resigned from this slot during the PPP government’s four-year rule.

(With additional input from wires)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • noname
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:15PM

    i think she will joint PTI.. :d

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  • Feroz
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:17PM

    What were the points of disagreement with her cabinet colleagues and her party. The Press must print news, not make readers speculate.

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  • siddh
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:19PM

    New trick Ms. Awan???

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  • Only PTI
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:22PM

    She better not join the PTI now ! We don’t need her !

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  • Ali
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:24PM

    She will be a good addition to PTI…..

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  • JaySabir
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Good Riddance!

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  • Ashraf P
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Ms.Awam is joining PTI !! The tsunami is coming… will all the old and corrupt faces !!

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  • anonymous
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:29PM

    Good Riddance. PTI should reject her.

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 12:36PM

    good disition and she not good this job

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  • Ahmad
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:36PM

    She MUST apologize to that Chinese delegation that kept on waiting for her more than one-and-half hour a few months back. The delagation left in protest.

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  • Main na Manoon
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:36PM

    She has only resigned from the cabnit and shown her full confidence in PM and the presedent, PTI should only look for lotas, my sympathies to IK..

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  • asim
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Drama queen! acha howa…

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  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:38PM

    She was misfit as a minister for Infromation, which required an articulate person with clear thoughts, who can work as govt spokesperson. This job has been made even harder with the emergence of myriads of TV channels, most of them quite aggressive and at times opposed to the government. Information minister’s job becomes even harder when govt goes against major TV channel such as Geo. The public perception of corruption, misgovernance and cronyism against the government makes a daunting task for any one as Minister of Informatiom. Bring back Qamar Zaman Kaira, he can make some difference.

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  • Javeed
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:41PM

    seriously who cares!!! have u ever seen an uneducated Dr. before?

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  • Asif
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:45PM

    if she joins PTI and PTI accept it………..then it will show that there is not standard or merit of PTI………….
    PTI should reject her…….Recommend

  • Pakistani in US
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:48PM

    What are her credentials? I never thought she was suitable for her stint as information minister. Not the right image for Pakistan.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:48PM

    PTI shud not accept her….she is not worth a dime….a doctor by proffession like Dr Mirza…..these people shud well serve ministry of social & health sector which are in dire state….Recommend

  • M. A. Changezi
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:00PM

    Bravo! Took you the 4-5 years to realize? We all know what you and the likes of you are up to! PTI next stop!

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  • Cynic
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:01PM

    Apparently the govt is rejecting her resignation — or so television tells me.

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  • Ali
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:09PM

    PTI is accepting all kinds of politicians, ranging from turncoats of PML-Q, Fuedal Lords of PPP and PML-N. Then why there is objection on her. Let her join PTI. Though she is not a fuedal lordbut she is as good as Legharis, Qureshis, Makhdooms, (name any fuedal family in Pakistan and you would find their rep in PTI). Criticism on her is hypocracy.

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  • Hamid
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:14PM

    We dont need her in PTI, she better leave.

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 1:14PM

    yes u r right PTI shud not accept her,,if she z nt a doctor or uneducated hw she joined th politics…????????????????

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  • Taha S Siddiqui
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:26PM

    Being the Information Minister since she cudn’t handle the memogate scandal .. there were clear indications of her being removed from the post.. what she did? Cried , resigned and hence resignation had to be turned down !
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  • Khurram Mansoor
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:29PM

    Trying to be Javed Hashmi :-D

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 2:13PM

    According to my view,
    she was not a fit person for this post,
    a person must be a high qualifies who may face all the circumstances expected to come or appear in side.
    She thought and feared,according to her mentally approach dark days was coming and she was enable to face.
    memo sandal,apex court judgment ahead,increasing friction between civil and military establishment,distance has also been widen between the two parties,such as PML(n) and PPP..
    As a women,she want better way and that was the ouster,so she resign.the fact is that every women can not be become Benazie Bhutto.

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  • Bee
    Dec 25, 2011 - 2:17PM

    Good! now the job should go to the one who can do justice to it . . . . . . Hussain Haqqani. Lol!!

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 2:21PM

    Tears of crocodile,
    she criticized and resigned but would have remained supporter and aligned,
    impossible,in fact,she has changed her mind under the pressure of the persons
    working behind her.
    she proved herself not a time tested friend.

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 2:29PM

    as regards the media reporting,
    at the time of resignation she was emotional and tear full,
    gone were the days,when kite on climax,now thunderous black clouds looks moving toward the power corridors,in such circumstances it is very hard to earn more ,so resign to,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 2:47PM

    The reason of resignation,expressed by her is not understandable,absolutely groundless,further more i would like to say it senseless.

    What kind of snag in the way which prevent you to work.
    She didn’t name any one who put a hurdle in the way stopping her to play her due role as a minister.
    Her tone in this connection reveals that she is going to leave the party,because party looks paralyzed and crippled,and she want new fresh and young with chances of coming into power very soon.
    In the matter of fact, she has undertaken the line of Mr.Javed hashmi,who was warmly welcomed by the PTI chairman and offer a higher post

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  • Naveed Abid Syed
    Dec 25, 2011 - 2:52PM

    She must have refused to lie and speak the truth, which was cause of her downfall

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  • Blithe
    Dec 25, 2011 - 3:07PM

    Perfect motherly figure that while defend
    IK.

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  • Azmat
    Dec 25, 2011 - 3:19PM

    Two Holidays a Week Will Increase Population of Pakistan – Firdous Ashiq Awan.

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  • Ahsan Raza
    Dec 25, 2011 - 4:28PM

    WOW 5 Hours after, she withdraws her Resignation. WOW

    And Imran Haters, please tone down the hate Imran’s Jalsa hasn’t begun yet. You can commence spewing out your poison afterwards.

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  • Dec 25, 2011 - 9:11PM

    RESIGNED WHILE WEEPING AND WHEN NOT ACCEPTED THEN SMILING? Today Ashiq Firdous Awan’s resignation showed as if someone had died or was to die. She kept on weeping while hurling her speech leading towards her resignation. Every body had seen her tears and at that time the face of Prime Minister Gallani was also look like that he was also about to weep. After sometime, when the Prime Minister did not accept her resignation, she accepted it while smiling. Very funny and fantastic. It shows as to how long our leaders are crazy for seats/ministership. On the asking of someone or criticism of someone, one has to leave soe seat, they weep and when again offered they accept it while smiling. Very sad, Firdous ‘Ashiq Awan Information Minister started weeping during the cabinet meeting. Such weak woman should not be Minister of an important seat. At one time, it also appears that she was present in Karachi and she might opt to join PTI. She remained in the regime of Musharf and then she joined PPP. Now even tears will not save this government?

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Dec 25, 2011 - 9:25PM

    She withdrew her resignation after Imran Khan refused to accept her in PTIRecommend

  • Truth From Pakistan
    Dec 25, 2011 - 9:47PM

    IK please do not take her in PTI !

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  • Parvez
    Dec 25, 2011 - 10:44PM

    …..and it was recorded on TV. Did she really have to do that to get noticed ??

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  • FAZ
    Dec 25, 2011 - 10:52PM

    There are women’s tears and there are crocodile tears and now we have FAA’s tears!!

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  • Megatron
    Dec 25, 2011 - 11:57PM

    Another dirty tactic to divert peoples attention from MEMO case….Grow up Mr.PM …wake up…earlier you tried to throw dirt on premier and only remaining institutuion of country that is PAK Army….stop this dirty picture ….resign pls and ask Mr.10% as well to resign

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Like Dengue fever, PTI fever is also viral.

    It’s in the air and anyone who breaths get the PTI viral infection.

    To protect from PTI viral fewer, people should at least take one anti-PTI injection, which is available in abundance with other political party leaders.

    Recommend

  • wadi
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:45AM

    she is a worrier and has fought many battles for ppp
    she is an asset we should respect women of gritt
    she is better than nawaz who gave way when time came to stand up

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  • Dec 26, 2011 - 5:24AM

    She should NEVER resign. She keeps PPP interesting.

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  • Usman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:34AM

    no one wants to hear about an incompetent minister’s resignation

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  • Asad Khan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:46AM

    It was a trick to divert Media From Khan Sb Jalsa: Yar itz Easy to make Peoples Fool in Pakistan : Luv For Khan Sb : Vote For MqM : Take Care ALLRecommend

  • JaySabir
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:09AM

    @wadi: are you Mr. PM? :-)

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  • Noman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:46AM

    Enough of Dramas, let go PLZZZ!!

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  • Dec 26, 2011 - 3:30PM

    PARTICIPTION OF PEOPLE IN PTI: It is a matter of great pleasure that having a ray hope in PTI, the people are participating in PTI. Although some dirty people are also coming in PTI but the people will see all dirty people will be washed through Exel Surf. As far as PMLQ is concerned it has already been divided while PML N is also going to be wipped off as its main pillar Javed Hashmi left PML N. The sincere and dear of PPP leaders and workers have already been ousted and they are awaiting as to whether they are to keep them in present pPP or to be included in PTI or to create some other party. A thrilling has been created by Imran in Pakistan Politics.Recommend

  • really?
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:09PM

    How much of this poor nations money was spent to transport this bulky cabinet from and to islamabad?

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